Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Covered Bonds and Bank Failure

So does anyone REALLY know what happens to covered bonds if their issuing bank defaults? I ask because based on the brief description from Bloomberg.com, Wikipedia, and the European Covered Bond Council, it sounds like a securitization that has to stay on the books of the issuer. Now, if the issuer fails, what happens to the bonds? I mean, it sounds like they are already overcollateralized, which is how they get the superior ratings, but I haven't seen any mention of the outcome of issuer failure. Maybe I just need to read a bit more.

However, these things sound pretty attractive so far, if you can look past the fact that a NRSRO had to issue the rating on the bond. As we know, until recently, the 2 NRSROs that the market listened to most closely were Moody's and Standard & Poor's. Their collective track record on ratings isn't exactly spotless. Still, these covered bonds that are already trading (not necessarily those of FNM and FRE, should they actually come into being) sound promising based on their yields. I sense a lot of fear around these things, just based on the the names of the issuers, and that indicates a potential opportunity to me.

At times like this, I wish I had access to a Bloomberg!

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